FBC

Three Reasons We Hire Interns at First

It is a privilege to have a cohort of interns each year at our church, as they grow together and do excellent work on behalf of our congregation. We set out to hire our first cohort a couple years ago and we were not sure what God might do. When you begin a process to hire a cohort of interns and then lead that cohort through a year of development, you never know who might apply or what might happen. We have been fortunate to not only have great individual interns but great teams that work well together. On multiple occasions, I have found myself reflecting on our intern cohorts, and they are truly a highlight of ministry each year.

Through the year, we seek to invest in our intern cohort. Interns can sometimes be seen as only cheap labor, but that is a serious disservice to what an internship should be. Someone asked me about leading a cohort of interns and what I have learned, I told them that unless you are prepared to invest in people, don't hire interns. The jokes are too common - interns are seen as cheap labor. This is absolutely not the case at our church. Our cohort has done excellent work together this year, and they have served our congregation well. This requires a serious investment on the part of a congregation - one we are happy to make.

There are many reasons to hire interns. The list could grow quite long, but here are three reasons we hire interns at First.

We want to Develop Leaders

We want to develop leaders. Plain and simple. We are working to create a culture at First Baptist that recognizes growth and multiplication as Biblical values which must necessarily be expressed in our congregation. We want to help people grow, whether it is in the area of spiritual disciplines, care for others or leadership skills. An essential part of growing as a disciple of Jesus is multiplying ourselves into others. Paul exhorts Timothy, "What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Tim 2:2)."

As our congregation makes a commitment to invest resources into developing leaders through our intern cohort, we also communicate a commitment to growing leaders all over our church. As we seek to make growth and multiplication part of the culture at First, our investment into a cohort of interns moves us in the right direction. One of the reasons we hire interns at First is because we value leadership development and our intern cohort is a natural result of that value.

We want to Prioritize The Kingdom

We want our church to prioritize God's Kingdom over our own kingdom. Churches are unfortunately prone to be territorial and only care about their own agenda. We want to fight against that tendency in every way we can. When we hire a cohort of interns, we prioritize The Kingdom. On day one, we tell each of our interns that we want them to invest fully into our church throughout the year of their internship. Once the year is over, we do not place any expectation that they remain a part of our church. We want to release them for Kingdom work, whether that is in another church or another city.

We want to release our interns for Kingdom work, but is also a joy to report that several of our former interns have remained a part of our congregation. We do hope this is the case, because it is a sign that these young leaders are excited to continue investing in our church. Whether they remain for just their internship or a few years after, it is likely they will move away at some point, and our prayer is that the investment we made is multiplied ten, twenty or even a hundredfold for God's Kingdom. We hire interns at First, because we want to prioritize The Kingdom.

We want to Do Excellent Work Together

We hire interns at First because we want to do excellent work together. It is our intention to provide an environment that facilitates growth in each of our interns, and along the way, it is our expectation that we will do excellent work together on behalf of our congregation. I am not interested in having our cohort simply execute menial tasks in a mediocre fashion. As I work with our cohort, we want to complete meaningful work on behalf of our church, for the good of God's Kingdom, the glory of God's name and the joy of all peoples, and we want to do it in excellent ways.

It would be impossible for me to outline all the excellent work our cohorts have done. They have supported our partnerships with our 26 missionaries, they have provided necessary leadership for our youth ministry, they have led retreats, they have led worship, they have invested in congregation members, they have served the needs of our downtown community, they have supported one another, they have prayed for one another, they have loved our church and they have done excellent work together. We hire interns because we want to do excellent work together.

What is true of a disciple?

Remembering our primary goal

I recently led the Community Group leaders at First Baptist Church through an activity that asked the question, "What is true of a disciple?" It is important to recognize that everyone is at a different stage along the spectrum of growth as a disciple. No single person is perfect, and so we were really asking an idealized version of that question. Not just "what is true of a disciple?" right now, but what sort of things are we aiming for as a disciple.

It is an important question for us to ask. As we participate in the various activities at church, we have to remember our ultimate goal of becoming more like Jesus. It isn't just to show up to Community Group each week or complete the weekly "assignment" for group. The goal of our Community Groups are that men and women grow as followers of Jesus, becoming more and more like their savior. That was the point of the activity, to remind us of where we are aiming.

I am going to share the collective results of the activity with you. But first, I should tell you what we did. I asked them to get in groups of 3-4 and gave them a sheet of paper with the outline of a person. On the sheet, we highlighted the head, heart and hands, which provided the framework for a three part paradigm that helped us think about what is true of a disciple.

I asked them to take some time to consider what is true ofa disciple based on the head, heart and hands framework. Each group came up with really insightful qualities of a disciple, and I want to share them with you.

What is true of a disciple?

Head

Head is meant to represent Biblical and Theological Knowledge. It helps us to consider what a mature disciple knows to be true based on what the Scriptures have revealed. Here are the collective results from the Community Group leaders:

  • Jesus is the Savior
  • God’s love is unconditional
  • We have a fundamental need for salvation through God’s forgiveness
  • Salvation through grace, not works (Eph 2:8-9)
  • Jesus says the most important command is to love God and love others
  • "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you (Ps 119:11)."
  • Believes, studies and memorizes God's Word
  • Scripture is authoritative
  • Understanding of Biblical interpretation and hermeneutics
  • Scripture has a cohesive message
  • A basic knowledge of the gospel message (i.e. 4 spiritual laws) and ability to articulate that message
  • Knowledge of the truth (i.e. God the Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit)
  • Academic humility
  • Understands character and nature of God as revealed in the Scriptures
  • Believes we are all sinners
  • Tendency to turn to Christ
  • Seeks to learn and grow
  • Hungers after the Word

As I reflected on this list, it was clear that a commitment to reading and understanding God's Word is an essential quality of a disciple. This will lead to a clear understanding of our sin and our need for Jesus to be our savior. It will also help us know the qualities of God and the importance of our need to love God and love others.

Heart

Heart is meant to help us consider the character of a disciple. As we grow as disciples, certain qualities will be true of the way we behave, both internally and externally. Here are the collective results:

  • Loves God with heart, soul, and strength
  • Loves neighbor as oneself
  • Kindness
  • Love for people
  • Showing Jesus’ love
  • Loves others as God’s children
  • Wants to bring others to Christ
  • Possesses a passion to live for Christ
  • Committed to prayer and spiritual growth
  • Conviction without shame
  • Growing in our desure to exhibit fruit of the Spirit
  • Softness of heart
  • Puts God and others before themselves
  • Humble confidence in God
  • Non-judgmental love
  • Grace and mercy
  • Generous with time, money, and resources
  • Patience, gentleness (display fruits of the Spirit)
  • Desires to become more like Jesus and be with Him
  • Loves the lost
  • Has a heart for “mission” need
  • Loves sinners
  • Forgiveness
  • Mercy
  • Compassion
  • Patience
  • Meekness

As I reflected on the characteristics that the Community Group leaders wrote down, it was clear that love was a central theme. This is good, because that is what Jesus told us was the most important commandment, to love God and love others. This love is for fellow Christians and also for those outside the church, with a desire for them to know Jesus. The Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, Gal. 5:22-23) also had a significant presence on this list. If loving God, loving others and exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit were defining characteristics of a person, it would be a good mark that they are a mature disciple of Jesus.

Hands

Hands is meant to represent the way that we express our knowledge and character in ministry application. As we grow in maturity, we will gain skills and desire to invest ourselves in ways that help to serve and advance the Kingdom of God. Here are the collective results from the Community Group leaders:

 

  • A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another (Jn 13:34)
  • “Do Unto others (Lk 6:31)”
  • What you do for the least of these, you do for me (Mt 25:40)
  • Serves the Lord with Gladness
  • Go-Support-Send
  • Wise application of Scripture to life
  • Willingness to serve when natural man says “no!”
  • What we know doctrinally affects the long-standing patterns in our lives.
  • Open doors to unbelievers (and Christians) –invite to church, events, etc…
  • Engage in conversations with others—empathize and see their viewpoint
  • Live missionally
  • Volunteer in various ministries
  • Demonstrate fruits of the Spirit
  • Willing to serve others
  • Willing to give up resources for the furthering of the kingdom
  • James 11:27 – visit orphans and widows
  • 2 Corinthians 9:7- God loves a cheerful giver
  • Apply knowledge
  • Acts of obedience to God's commands
  • Serving
  • Transferring the truths
  • Mission trips
  • Volunteering - (ie. In Love, Word and Deed)

As I reflect on this list, it is clear that we are called to serve others. Whether it be inside the church building or to those outside our walls, we are called to serve. This will require us to give sacrificially and consider others needs above our own. Jesus says that if you want to be great in the Kingdom, you must be a servant (Mk 10:42-45). Another important element to this area is that a mature disciple is intentional. They are intentional in relationships and actions, recognizing that they are a witness to God's Good News (Acts 1:8). We are called to be witnesses in word and deed of the Gospel.

Question: What qualities do you think should be true of a mature disciple?

 

A week dedicated to serving

FBC Serves

I am writing this post to give thanks to God for the great work that was done through the wonderful people of First Baptist Church last week. We had an entire week dedicated to loving our neighbors and we saw God do some amazing things. By the time last Sunday rolled around I was mentally and emotionally exhausted, but my spirit was full.

Our Family Ministries Pastor had a vision to spend a week serving our neighbors. This vision birthed what became known as #FBCServes. During the week our church family filled nearly 150 volunteer spots while serving hundreds of people in various ways. We served families waiting for the Torchlight parade, helped to beautify the local Loring Park rose garden, helped to feed and clothed over 200 homeless and much more. It was a privilege to see our church family rally together for our week of service and may God be honored and glorified through our work.

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven (Mt. 5:16)."

I am writing this to give thanks to God for his good work. It is not to make a name for myself or our church. It is not to pat ourselves on the back as if we have it all figured out. It is to celebrate the good work that God did in and through our community and give all the praise and recognition to Him.

Why do we Serve?

It is consistent with our love for Jesus

It is impossible to claim to love Jesus and not lovingly serve our neighbors. A clear call from Jesus to his followers is that we would engage in acts of love that meet real and tangible needs in the life of those around us. We are called to serve people around us. To humble ourselves and seek the good of others. Jesus told his disciples that the greatest in the Kingdom would be those who serve (Mk. 10: 42-45). Elsewhere in the Bible, we are told that it is impossible to claim a love for God if we do not also love our neighbors (1 John 4:19-21). God has redeemed us so that we would be zealous to do good works, which God has prepared for us (Titus 2:14, Eph 2:10).

It brings glory to God

God calls us to love others well as a worthwhile endeavor in and of itself. I would not want to minimize the importance of God's call to simply love others well. But that is not the only reason engage in acts of service. It also provides a great testimony to the God we love. The Bible talks about our good works serving as a way to bring glory to God (1 Peter 3:12, Mt 5:16). This provides a credible testimony to others and gives an opportunity to share the gospel.

Highlights for the week

Over the week, we had the opportunity to serve in many different ways. Here is a recap of all the things that God did through our community during FBC Serves.

Torchlight Tailgate

We kicked off our serve week by hosting our annual Torchlight Tailgate. This event is geared toward serving the hundreds of people who sit near our church along the parade route, which runs along Hennepin Ave. We had over 50 volunteers help to provide inflatables, face painting, crafts, juggling entertainment, sleight of hand entertainment, popcorn and 480 hot dogs. Between adults and children we had well over 500 people come through our parking lot that night. It was amazing to watch all the volunteers rally together to put on this event.

Baking treats for our Neighbors

On Thursday night we had 20 people join us to make brownies, cookies and other baked goods for our neighboring offices. There were also others who brought some treats they had made at home. Through all those efforts we were able to package up 20 gift boxes that were filled with baked goods.

Passing out treats to our neighbors

On Friday morning, a team of people took those 20 gift boxes to some of our neighboring offices. We were able to bless some of the hard working people who are located in offices near us. It was a joy to wish them all a happy Friday and give them all some delicious treats. The reception we got was fantastic!

Weeding the Loring Park Rose Garden

Another team of people worked with some organizers form Loring Park to help clear the large Rose Garden on the corner of Hennepin and Oak Grove. We had hoped for a few more volunteers for this, but the ones who came worked very hard on a hot day. It was a great way to bless our local community by helping to care for that important community space.

Community Fun Day with Local Aeon Apartments

On Friday afternoon, two teams of people went to two different affordable housing apartment buildings near the church. We provided some community activities including bingo, games and crafts to help build relationships and support the community development of those apartments. We also made some bagged meals and cleaned some of the community spaces. The residents were very thankful and it was great to spend time with some of our neighboring residents.

Homeless outreach with In Love, Word and Deed

We hosted one of our regular Saturday outreaches with In Love, Word and Deed (ILWD). We have loved our partnership with this amazing ministry and it was great to include an ILWD Saturday Outreach as part of #FBCServes. We gave away 200 chili dogs, 200 bagged meals, a significant amount of clothes and as much prayer as people wanted to receive. As always, our partnership with ILWD was an amazing opportunity to have a tangible expression of God's love for people.

Making Blankets for Children's Hospital and hearing from a missionary

On Sunday morning, we coordinated an opportunity to hear from one of our missionaries, Gary and Pat Olander who works with Cru City in Phoenix and we also made tie blankets for the Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. We had about 40 people come from all different generations. We had the youngest to the oldest all working together to make 10 different blankets for the Children's Hospital.

Let this be a catalyst

Our FBC Serves week was meant to be a way for us to have a concentrated effort toward serving our community in tangible ways. We saw many people volunteer from the church and I am amazed at what God did during that week.

But...

Let this be a catalyst. Let it be a beginning, not an end. Our FBC Serves week was not a period at the end of a sentence. It was more like the first word of a beautifully composed prose. Our prayer is that this would awaken an even deeper desire in our church family to love people through serving. May God be glorified in our efforts to love our neighbors well.

As you finish reading this, please ask yourself how you can get involved. Are there ways that you can love those around you? Are there ways you can partner with us at FBC or with your own church community to engage in a tangible expression of God's love, so that he would be glorified and that more and more people would worship Him.